Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hold that Thought!

 Don't be sad me hearties...

I know that you will find this difficult to believe but I will taking a 2 week hiatus from my blog to make sure I get these lines memorized for the play or it might be walking the plank for this ole pirate.

Don't forget opening night is February the 8th... and you could send a donation for the Norma Vinger Cancer Center if you can't make it. Heck, just send one anyway.

We're off book starting today and it 's not so easy.
Just when you thought you were getting your lines, now we all need to know what the other person is going to try to convey when they adlib so we know what's next.

Where's a TV prompter when you need one?

We'll get it as the show must go on.

For it 's  ALL for one and one for ALL... Wait, that was the 3 Musketeers. Arrgh.

                             Long live the Pirates of Chemotherapy!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ice Nuts

Villages come in all sizes. Here on the backwaters of the Mississippi, different kinds of villages spring up in a matter of hours as Amish buggies / trucks begin parking near the river in Stoddard / in waysides north of the river town and bundled up men appear out of their vehicles...

You may ask what's going on here ? It appears this is a 'male' winter activity as these men are dressed in special winter gear with something in tow...

Out of  their trunks come boat shaped deep plastic sleds which are filled with all types of equipment.

Yep this is called 'ice fishing' and I think you have to be a nut to be this kind of sportsman.

My Southern blood is thin and I don't choose to be outside in winter any more than the occasion demands...

So what do you need for this winter outing?  A major requirement is that you need strong ice then some kind of shelter, fishing and emergency gear. 

Reality is Northern winters can be really long and one guarantee is the extreme cold and that means a frozen river. That strong ice always would be a concern to me as how do you determine  'ice integrity'. I am told that the ice color is the key as black, blue or green ice is the strongest. Considerations of  thawing, a lot of slush, cracks, breaks/ flowing water determine safety.

Here's a chart I discovered: Generally guidelines for ice thickness are as follows:
  • 3" (7 cm) - Do not go on ice!!!!!
  • 4" (10 cm) - Ice will hold about 200 lbs. (91 kg) It is okay to walk 
  • 5" (12 cm) - Ice will hold about 800 lbs. (363 kg) You may drive your snowmobile or ATVon the ice.
  • 8" - 12" (20 - 30 cm) - Ice will hold between 1500-2000 lbs. (680-907kg) You may drive your car on the ice or bring fish with a large group of people.
  • 12" - 15" (30 - 38 cm) - Ice will hold over 2000 lbs. (907 kg) It is okay to drive your truck or van on ice.

Every year there are reports of people/ their vehicles ATVs/cars a falling through the ice. I kid you not.  You have to realize now that the mere thought of driving a car out on the river is another indicator that you have to be 'nuts' for this sport.

OK once that ice safety is established, you need shelter. Of course some of these nuts just dress really warm and don't use a shelter. In my  'Southern' opinion, you have to be crazy to brave the elements.  That wind can be fierce.

Some use their vehicles as shelter and go back and forth but most tow an ice house (ice shack/shanty)
to their spot. These pup tents just have room for one person and one ice hole but  larger ice houses have bottom areas where holes can be drilled for fishing. Hey these guys bring space heaters, tvs, even bunk beds. And others just have a bucket/chair to sit on and fish.

Gear? An ice auger is needed to drill the fishing holes and a measuring device to measure ice thickness and water depth. There are hand augers for thinner ice or electric augers for hard to drill through, thick ice.

Tipups and jig rods are the most popular for catching fish. Tipups have a lure and line and are spring loaded with a pop up flag once there's a strike. Tip ups are used if you can fish using multiple lines.   A jig rod is just a little fishing pole.
You also need emergency gear. So here comes that safety again: first aid kit, blanket, change of clothes in a waterproof bag, cell phone.  I wonder if I took a poll how many of those guys have all this stuff. Hey they are MEN.

Dressing properly includes hats,mittens, face masks, thermal underwear and socks, snow boots. Dressing in layers is key. 

The MALE bonding is a lot of this sport although that flash frozen fish is pretty dang cool- 

And I bet their womenfolk don't mind not having to go...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How Cold IS IT?

Last night's forecast was that the temps would drop to -6 with a -40 degree wind chill factor.  OK that's too dang cold.  Some of you have never had the pleasure to experience COLD so here's some 'COLD' weather terminology.  

Freezing Rain
Rain that freezes when it hits the ground, creating a coating of ice on roads, walkways, trees, and powerlines.


Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground.  Sleet also causes moisture on roads to freeze and become slippery.

Winter Storm Watch

A winter storm is possible in your area.  Turn in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for more information.

Blizzard Warning

Sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 miles per hour or greater and considerable amounts of falling or blowing snow (reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile) are expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.

Frost/Freeze Warning

Below freezing temperatures are expected. 

Heck, you know it's cold when you look out at the coop and the  chickens have put on their Norwegian wool sweaters in the End of the Rainbow Valley... 

In 3's... TGIF?

What is that saying about things happening in three's?

The house isn't even 10 years old...

This week these items needed to be replaced:

1.  1 - burnt out Fisher Paykel upper oven element
2.  1 - section of crappy under counter lighting plastic strip holders
3.  2 - Jenn Air stove top burners and a melted knob

They just don't make things like they used to...   No need to say any more on the topic.  It's too aggravating.

Besides feeling lucky that a technician could even get back here considering it's winter,  I hope that 3 is it and we don't need to see another 'repairman' for a while back here in the End of the Rainbow Valley...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

MLK Would be Proud...

I don’t know about you but I am still processing Monday’s  messages and their importance.  It certainly was a day filled with words and we weren’t the only people listening. 

Monday morning the President delivered his eloquent inaugural speech in our nation’s capital with throngs of people as far as eye could see,
Civil Rights is Not a Love Story..

then the early afternoon held Natureman’s youngest's talk "Civil Rights is Not a Love Story: Martin Luther King, the U.S. and the Long Struggle for Black Freedom in America" at the John F. Kennedy Center in Richland Center to a full room of listeners  and our evening culminated at La Crosse’s packed Viterbo University’s Performing Arts Center for the city’s Martin Luther King’s  Day celebration.  

Each event echoed the Reverend King’s message of ‘community’ of us working together to make ‘our’ lives better. Change starts at the community level and becomes national policy. Phrases like a‘nation of takers’ replaced by a ‘nation of givers’ continue to resonate. Commitments of social programs of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security...  Powerful words.

Yet,  of course, there were the complainers. Complaints of the President’s tone,  that his words were an ode to Big Government, omissions to speak of the deficit and defense spending.  But even Newt concurred that it was "classically American, emphazing hard work, self- reliance and doing things together." Natureman and I thought the President's speech was inspiring as were all the speakers we heard this past Monday.

It was a great day to be together with 'community.'  May we have many more such opportunities and the desire and energies to make this country a better place through working on social and economic injustice. It is up to us to speak up for what is right. It takes a community... As the poster says: Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream. Isn't it time we make it a REALITY?

Lift Every Voice

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

I am not really a car person but it certainly was a surprise when I discovered Natureman's 'car' knowledge.  It's baffles me how he can tell the model, year and engine size just like that. SO when CBS Sunday Morning featured the 'new' modern Corvette Stingray the non TV person Natureman was on it...   I guess this is a really big deal since it has only been redesigned 6 times in the last 50 years and hasn't come off the lines for a while.  The basic coupe will start about 51 K and the Z06 will start around 77,000. Natureman id'ed other models and truly appreciated the 450 horsepower and 450 lb feet of torque which translated means 'super-fast for this new model.

Apparently carbon fiber is the secret along with leather wrapped surfaces and the 'redesigned' signature tail lights. The hood is vented and finned and the updated dashboad even has a retracting LCD screen.

The first new Stingray to come off the assembly line  has already been bought by an aficcionado whose name is not an unknown if you're into cars. Besides numerous dealerships and sponsorships, Mr Hendrick's hobby is collecting vintage and muscle cars. Over half of his 300 car collection are Corvettes which are rotated in his Hendrick Heritage Center 'private' 58,000 sq ft space. '
Pretty impressive. 

His first date with his wife was in a Corvette that wouldn't start.  She did agree to go out with him again and ended up marrying him. He still has that first Corvette.  This reminded me of a date I had when I first started dating again in my late 40's... If you have already read about 'Corvette Boy' before you know the story- but if not here tis:

You see I would never let my dates pick me up at the house until I knew them better. So we would have a pre arranged meeting place like the restaurant... Anyhow, I had corresponded with this particular new guy a bit before deciding to go out. He kept on insisting on picking me up and I kept on saying, NO that we would meet at the restaurant. And we did, but then dinner was over and a concert on Summerfest grounds was next on the agenda. He started insisting again about him driving us and since it was only 6 blocks and we were downtown with lots of people around, I agreed.

 When we arrived at his parking spot, I immediately understood his insistence to drive as he wanted to 'show off' his vintage white corvette with its red interior. I had to chuckle to myself... These boys  and their toys. As I lowered myself into the seat I was  more worried about my skirt hiking up than being impressed by his car. Then when he turned the key, nothing happened. He tried again and there was still nothing. OOPS. Fortunately I saw two young 20 something bucks ( not deer,OK?) approaching. I  asked them if they could give us a push. Luckily  the car could be jump started and we were on our way. Apologetic and truly embarrassed Corvette Boy said that the car had been having some issues. I'm thinking so why bring it on the date? DUH. Anyhow as the concert neared its end I suggested maybe a prompt departure in case we might need another push. 'Oh no, that wouldn't be necessary,' Corvette Boy said as he defended his pride and joy. Well, wouldn't you know it as his Baby was dead as a doornail again. Thank goodness there were still folks around to help with that push. Unlike the Hendricks though it didn't push us to another date...

 I was holding out for a guy with  a real Chick magnet :

Yeah a Suzuki X90  ... you guessed it as this cartoon-like convertible came with my very own Natureman and a life in the End of the Rainbow Valley...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Les Miserables/ Singular as in Le Miserable

OK I think there is something wrong with me as I must be the only one who has been MISERABLE watching Les Miserables, the movie/ was that Victor Hugo's original intentions?

The musical arrangements are good (although most movie actors aren't singers)  KUDOS to both set and costume designers. There is just too much to try to watch and we don't get to see it with all the close ups ... the French accents are off, that dang elephant really bothered me  and this is a big AND for me - Les Miserables is just too dang DEPRESSING.  I was informed by Natureman who was sobbing, yes sobbing, that it was 'uplifting. '

Sure a redeemed convict dedicates his life to doing 'good' in the face of adversity, adopts an impoverished child and saves her future husband BUT come on  this was a time of economic hardship and a cholera epidemic ... beyond awful. The movie makers went to great extremes to let the viewer see how bad the people's poverty conditions were whether it was lack of bathing water/ food and adding a cat's tail to the ground meat. The sewer scene had me gagging. The women scrubbing the blood from the streets made me queasy, not to mention swords skewering people and muskets doing their jobs as they wait - break into song. Painful.

And let me not forget the historical inaccuracy as the 1832 student uprising at the time of King Louis- Philippe was triggered by the cholera death of LaMarque, a 'man of the people, 'one of the King's political opponents. But this is not the 1789 French Revolution. Come on if we are going to get millions of people to listen to show tunes, could we at least help them get history straight?

IN the end the child, Cosette, has been saved from poverty, falls in love with a weak wealthy revolutionary who sings about love while his friends die fighting for the cause. Come on. Love doesn't conquer all - it's their wealthy status that helps those two live happily ever after.  Uplifting?

I was so glad when the final score played and I could get back to the End of the Rainbow Valley so I could google that White elephant. Here's the link : Elephant of the Bastille

Friday, January 18, 2013

Confession Time...and I'm not even Catholic

Last Friday night due to the thick fog, heavy mist and darkness en route back home I pulled off the highway in Eau Claire. It was a smart safe choice and I didn't need to be out on the roads. I was tired and got in my jammies by 5:30.  I have a confession to make - I spent the entire night in the Country Suite Inn ....  Are you ready?

Watching " Say Yes to the Dress. " OMG. I couldn't turn it off.   I watched episode after episode in disbelief as brides to be of all ages spent 1,000's and 1,000's of dollars on dresses that they would wear one day in their lives.

Perhaps this is really what is wrong with us.  I don't even care if people really have enough money to spend some of the astronomical amounts these brides had family members or themselves shell out. $34,000 for a dress?

 Oh wait some girls/women would come in with a monetary figure and say that they wanted '3' dresses. 3 are we totally crazy? /would say it doesn't matter what it costs.                        
Some would have budgets but what budgets!

Feeling like a Princess on your wedding day doesn't mean spending an amount that could feed all the homeless in your hometown. All I know is I would be embarrassed as a relative / friend of these women.

AND if my daughter is reading this and I do assume she would already know that her Mom would have to start the real unpopular show which would be 'Say NO to the Dress.'

If you haven't ever seen this show, here's a link to experience REALITY TV.

Say YES to the Dress Clips...

OH and by the way I'll have you know that I was working on a craft project while watching TV all night long... well what else could I do not being home in the End of the Rainbow Valley?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

To Shave or Not to Shave...

Through the years one definite descriptor for me would be my hair. How to find Karen...Oh, she's the one with the naturally curly hair. I had always kept it short. I tried to grow it out a bit in high school but Southern humidity always got the best of it. Within minutes the flattened straighter look was replaced by frizz. I always felt left out not being able to have bangs. Boy I used to try to look like everybody else.

The popularity of the 'fro' made my life so much easier. AND I was 'COOL.'   It was manageable and super easy to take care of in the mornings.  Basically pick it out and go. 

Then almost 4 years ago I decided to finally let my hair grow. Oh and that inbetween stage was not pretty.  The hairdressers said give it a year at least and don't cut it. Some friends were very encouraging. You look younger... Now how much more encouragement does a woman need?

OK so where is this going? Well you know from recent posts that I will be partaking in Pirates of the Chemotherapy and actually my character still has hair in the play due to a lesser form of Chemo.  But I want to do something more. I thought about having a fundraising event where people could donate for me either to keep my hair/ shave it. The greatest amount would be the deciding factor but then if I didn't shave it, someone else who might need hair, specifically curly hair wouldn't get any. It got me to thinking...
I have had some students who would participate each year in St. Baldrick's, http://www.stbaldricks.org/ and have their heads shaved to donate their locks for children with Cancer. 

This year the event will be held on March 9th and I will be joining others in raising awareness and also to shed this massive head of curls. I hope that you will join me and help by donations towards this effort/ come donate your hair too.

I just signed up to raise money for St. Baldrick's. Check out my webpage! http://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/mypage/584092/2013
OK help me raise a lot of money. AND let's hope one day we will eradicate the need for Chemo.

Love from the End of the Rainbow Valley...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Treasures of the Heart, Not Your Treasures

Another item on my Bucket List is to continue learning so I was thrilled when my Rosh Chodesh spirituality group offered a mini course in Ethical Wills. The added bonus was that my historian friend, Sue, was the facilitator.

Wikepedia An Ethical will (Hebrew: "Zava'ah") is a document designed to pass ethical values from one generation to the next. Rabbis and Jewish laypeople have continued to write ethical wills during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. (Reimer) In recent years, the practice has been more widely used by the general public.:
WIKIPEDIA Ethical Will

Our first session was about an ethical will's purpose and how/why people choose to write one. "An ethical will is putting your values on paper."  Oh dear, this is not going to be easy as this project means the big 'R' as in 'Reflection.'  A lifetime of reflecting...

Perhaps passing 50 years of age naturally gives one cause to pause and reflect on life and consider  mortality.  The reality is that we are not getting younger.  So what 'legacy' do we want to leave our family/friends?  Here's an opportunity to be introspective (and a bit narcissistic) to write down who we are, why we lived as we have lived and even what we hope that we have/ want to have accomplished with this life. The good, the bad and the ugly if we so desire.

Our first session's homework was to think about for whom we would be leaving this document and decide what questions/ info we would want to know about a dear one and then transfer those questions to ourselves. An exercise in session 2 had us write self descriptive adjectives and then see if there was a pattern. Heck the only pattern I saw was with the more time I had to write, the adjectives got increasingly more negative.  Sue was reassuring saying that we can be 'thoughtful' and then sometimes 'thoughtless.' Evaluating why /how we are these adjectives is a whole other ball of wax.

Another exercise had us considering life's turning points. A timeline was useful as was deciding if these events were positive/negative. I told you this was heavy. Growing up in a very over- protective and controlled environment made escapes to camp,  Youth Group conventions, Girls State, travel, University even marriage ... all major independent events for me. Hmmm...

And what advice do we hand down?  My Mom always taught me never to pass up an opportunity to use a restroom since you never knew when you'd have the next opportunity. This lesson has served me well.  There are so many life lessons! It's what's inside that counts, right? My 'value' statement list is also  growing with about 20 items already. Number one on the list is a Jewish tenet to ' Leave the world better than you found it' ...

Whether it's advice/ stories there are many ways to organize this 'will'.  One learns a lot about oneself in the process.  As you can imagine this document could be one page or even turn into a book. It all depends upon the writer.

Hopefully there will be a lot time to continually revise my Ethical Will before some of its contents need to be used in an obit/ memorial and hopefully this is one keepsake that I can complete during my time here in the End of the Rainbow Valley...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Dying Breed... Is Extinction Near?

We've made a not so difficult decision but at the same time one I don't feel exactly good about making... You see our 'city' newspaper like so many across the country has been suffering the same demise as their readership and ad sponsorship decline.  Since our daily subscription began 8 years ago, its cost rose as the paper shrunk. People go elsewhere for news. The internet is now the medium.

Here's a pic of Sunday's front page with the TV remote control placed on top of it to give you an idea of its present scale.   The main story obviously this past Sunday is the city's new theater.  You get my point, there's no meat ( as in real news).  Local papers are dying every day all over this country.

Originally every though it wasn't the Chicago Trib(une), a paper that would take me all Sunday am to peruse, I thought well at least I could learn what all was happening in the city even if I'd have to go else where for world news...

 BUT look again above at the weekend's front page. Photos take up 3/4 of the Sunday's front page.  It's really insulting assuming that we the readers would think that that's the most important thing going on in the world... Gee, we have a new theater. Isn't that why there's an entertainment section? Understandably, ads are important to survival but when they take up half the page, where's the news?  The paper turned out, no kidding, having more use as kindling paper rather than information and when it truly shrunk in half, the End of the Rainbow Valley went from our daily subscription to just the weekend.

Now, unfortunately, even though our subscription has been a 'little' support for a dying animal, we will be discontinuing our subscription as the news has really been cut from the 'news'paper.  I guess that's why we now just call it the 'paper. ' So sad...

Monday, January 14, 2013

It's That TIme of Year Again...

Guess what starts arriving every January in mailboxes?  They definitely get certain people's blood a 'moving . AND NO, they are not bills...

Seed catalogues, lots and lots of seed catalogues.  Nurseries know that gardeners are restless and tired of winter and anxious to start their seedlings before spring is upon them.  It's like having a breath of fresh air with all the colorful pages of blooms and plants.

For in the middle of the arctic-like temps especially the vision of sugarplums, okay, actually plants start dancing in gardeners's heads as they dream of ideas of what to plant and where to plant it. Garden plans start a'festering. And these catalogue specials entice and seduce one to order more with lush pics and new varieties. Gardeners are itching to dig in the dirt and be ready for planting those plants as the weather allows.

I spent a lot of my free time this past week calling in search of seed to local nurseries and hardware stores only to discover that most hadn't even received any seed as of yet...

You see my job was to decorate tables for a going away luncheon on Saturday and I wanted to find "Forget Me Not "  seeds.

It wasn't until I got to the Menard's in Eau Claire which coincidentally was directly behind the motel where I spent the night that I found them. Now that made my day!
 Apparently workers had been 'super' busy just that day assembling seed displays.

I hit the jackpot! I was SOOOO happy that my table decorating could come to fruition and I sure hope our friends will plant their seed in their new home's garden and will think of us when they see their new plants.

We here in the End of the Rainbow Valley sure won't forget them...

Friday, January 11, 2013

Life before the sun rises...

I know for night owls this will sound very insane but I love the early morning... I usually rise with the moon still in the sky. I guess I have always been an early morning person.  As a kid I remember hearing my folks open the front door before six to fetch the daily paper and hear its rustling pages as they perused the news before the clatter started in the kitchen.  There's a different stillness before the house really becomes alive.  Nowadays it's a time for me to do catch up stuff/ just read. Some a.m.'s I get an extra load of wash going while I catch up on mail/read/ school work. It's seldom that I can fall back to sleep as the lists start growing in my head and I figure I might as well start tackling them. I fix a cup of chai /hot cocoa and breakfast usually waits until Natureman awakens.

What's scary is how computertime can suck a person in and some mornings's sunlight arrives without me even noticing that  it has replaced the End of the Rainbow Valley's darkness as I  catch up on the world and social news besides playing my choice games. The games change as advertising wait time makes them less appealing but I usually find something else to do. For this month it will be working on my play lines. Subliminal advertising for me telling you all not to forget to donate/come to this breast cancer fundraiser. Really subliminal...

Anyhow bottom line is I am the one who rises before the chickens. Heck I just function better in the mornings... How 'bout you?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Blocking... not as in Packers

As you know every profession has its own vocab and the theater is no different. Tonight was my night to learn about stage 'blocking.'  This isn't  where the director brings wooden blocks from home but rather directs the actors going over their movements and positions on stage.

 In the upcoming 6 women play 'Pirates of the Chemotherapy' where I will be one of the 'Pirates', we are fortunately confined to a church basement for support meetings so besides our circle of chairs and the coffee table, both the set design and movements are somewhat limited. Gee nobody told me that we had to multitask. LOL.

Our script actually details  entrances and exits. But it the director's job to keep in mind the audience's view and also our  arrangement for interest and besides not  having our backs towards the audience while delivering lines.  Rats, I guess I can't attach my lines onto my cast members's backs. I get the true meaning now of being upstaged ... In teaching we are used to being 'center' stage.

I thought I knew everything about 'cheating' after 40 years in the classroom but there is a cheater stance on the stage. It doesn't involve craining your neck but rather facing sideways to the audience with one foot behind to create an angle. Who knew?

Before  attending rehearsal  a quick Google  informed me  theater body positions which included open and closed body, the two C's  "cross" and "cover"  and sharing. I haven't heard all the terms yet but I bet they are coming.
But I wonder if I'll be ready for a full frontal... hmmm.

The first hour was supposed to be me with just one other cast member but due to illness her doctor instructed her to keep her doozy of a hacking cough home. Oh dear, I hope we don't all  inherit  this city wide croup. I guess the plays hugs will be suspended for a bit. There are enough other things to remember-like lines. We are supposed to be ' off book' in a week and a half.

-That's theater talk for get your lines memorized.
Let's see if I can get this old brain rust oiled.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2 Close 4 Comfort...

If there's a hill, the man has to climb it...
As you may have noticed our lives out here in the country are never without adventure especially if Natureman is involved... Actually  I got to miss out on one such afternoon because I needed to await the cable guy's arrival Monday. I mean 6 frozen interrupted moments in the season premiere of Downton Abbey just can't be allowed!

Anyhow Natureman and I 'had' planned an outing to Duck Egg Park for either snow shoeing/ cross country skiing.  As far as I was concerned it was a bit too breezy to venture out as I watched the wind sculpture spin ferociously. (We have very scientific wind velocity instruments in the Valley.)  Well that wouldn't deter the other half so after lunch Natureman headed out sans moi with his skis.

Now one thing you have to understand is the man has no concept of time and has never worn a watch as long as I have known him. Hence as the hours ticked away and the cable issue was fixed, I didn't really think too much about Natureman's prolonged absence. Even if he had had a cell with him, there would be no reception down in the coulee.

Well, I knew it takes a good 25 minutes to get to the park... so that's about an hour just in travel time. It was getting late afternoon and I had even started thinking about dinner ... and FINALLY in walks the weary skier with very wet boots and a 'have I got a story for you...'

Natureman strikes again. Apparently during his outing admiring the park's creek's  beauty he decided to try some newly created paths but missed the sign that said to 'take care not to get lost.' Unfortunately he ended up following a deer trail vs the real trail as it appeared to be on the other side of the creek... hmmm he had skiied  up and down and around  a long time and realized for energy sake he needed to cross the creek rather than retrace his tracks. So he found a narrow part of the creek and crossed using out cropped rocks , continuing on the other side with damp boots for a long while until that trail 'dead ended. ' Now what? The creek was way too wide to cross at that juncture and he would definitely have to back track. You can imagine my reaction during this retelling.
  This second creek crossing left him with very wet feet and visions of the movie  'Into the Wild' whose own Natureman dies just 3 miles from civilization because he can't find a place to cross... OY.

Reality hit me after hearing his tale. There would have been no way to  know where he was, much less truly being in the dark.  AND who would I have gone to for a search party?  First I would have had to find this obscure horse trail park to see if his car was still there... OMG, then what?  Fortunately this wasn't the scenario but it sure makes one realize that future cross country skiing adventure might be best not done solo.  As I worried about all the possible scenarios see what Naturman's response was:  


You heard it straight from the End of the Rainbow Valley...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Patchwork of Our Lives

Sometimes ideas take a while to come to fruition and so it was with a gift for my daughter that came to me as I was folding her gazillion t -shirts while I helped her unpack into her new home. All those t- shirts bonded her to her past which also made saying goodbye to them virtually impossible.  They took up a good 2 shelves of closet space. There was no way that she could ever wear them all. What to do, what to do?

Then I remembered hearing about people making t-shirt quilts and thought this would be one way for her to keep these  'cloth'  memories but to give them a new purpose... So she chose her favorite top 25 and they all got a new life as they were quilted into a queen size comforter the colors of her new home.

My intention was to give it to her in person at a family get together last month but that reunion didn't come to be so the quilt had to be entrusted to the mail. I was definitely a Nervous Nelly if it'd arrive even with insurance. AND how would I replace the t-shirts and the labor if it lost its way?

Well, it  did arrive and I felt really good to be able to witness its unveiling via SKYPE as it was opened and spread out across her living room over a 1000 miles away.

There amidst the design were memories of trips, camps, school years and her and her brother's bat/bar mitzvahs and post school adventures.

Included was a patch with her birthdate ... yes, this is a very special year for my first born-

AND 2 patches of

  all the places that she has lived...

Then she disappeared from the screen as she was on the floor  exploring the patches of her life and
all of a sudden she reappeared enveloped within the comforter ... What else could I do? I had to run get my camera to take a picture of my laptop screen...

 There before my eyes was a scene of long ago when I used to swaddle her as a baby... but now just a little older. Where did 30 years go?

May this labor of love keepsake give her 'comfort' and last a long, long time. For as the hand stitched patch in the middle of quilt says as we repeated many times over the years with each other :

Sending love from the End of the Rainbow Valley....

Monday, January 7, 2013

To Skype or Not to Skype, That is the Question...

I have been getting a bit nervous regarding the need to practice lines for the upcoming play,  "Pirates of the Chemotherapy" to be performed in a month's time. ( Yep, I hope you have marked your calendars for February 8,9/10.)  Anyhow,  I certainly have a bucketload of lines and serious practices start this week.

Colored notecards according to scenes with prompts and Winnie's lines have been made as I have tried to systematically break down the memorization that lies ahead for my character.  Winnie's very independent and pretty dang cynical but for good reason as one finds out as the play progresses.

Fortunately as I checked  on FB (Facebook) this am,  I  discovered a message from another cast member asking if I'd like to Skype to practice our lines. What a perfect medium to accomplish this task!  Two hours flew by as we became better acquainted with the script and 'our' new persona.

There's no way it would have been as much fun nor productive via phone. Besides I wouldn't have been entertained by my friend's cat either as he decided that the call was obviously for him. He was hogging screen time/ do you think that I may have my first real fan?

Well, no matter what it certainly is obvious that technology connects us to the outside world even here in the back of the End of the Rainbow Valley sitting in the middle of nowhere...